DON’T BABY YOUR WEDGE SHOTS

How to stay ag­gres­sive from short dis­tances

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Play Your Best Butch Harmon -

he best thing you can do for your swing is to let it be an ath­letic mo­tion. What I mean is, let your body and the club ow back and through so the swing is smooth and nat­u­ral. One area I see a lot of golfers los­ing this

ow is on short wedge shots, say, 40 to 60 me­tres. Be­cause it’s not a full swing, the in­stinct is to over­con­trol the mo­tion. Trust me, that doesn’t work.

The key on those short wedges is to get into a good setup and make a back­swing that al­lows you to ac­cel­er­ate through the ball. Play the ball in the mid­dle of your stance, and set ex­tra weight on your front foot. From there, swing the club back nice and wide, keep­ing your hands stretched away from your body (above, left). The back­swing should be short enough – no more than chest high – so you don’t have to ease o the shot com­ing down. You al­ways want your swing to be ac­cel­er­at­ing through im­pact.

A good down­swing trig­ger is to kick your back knee to­wards the tar­get. That’ll shift your weight to your front side and get your body turn­ing for­ward. A lot of am­a­teurs freeze the lower body and try to steer the club into the ball with their arms. But it’s crit­i­cal to get your lower body and weight mov­ing to­wards the tar­get so the low point of the swing comes in front of the ball. That’s how you make ball-then-turf con­tact, which is su­per im­por­tant on wedge shots that don’t re­quire a full swing.

Last thing: Keep up your speed all the way to the nish (above, right). Avoid the in­stinct to baby the shot. With a short enough back­swing, you can make a rm strike on the ball and not worry about it go­ing too far.

Com­mit to this great swing thought: Wide back, ac­cel­er­ate through. You’ll main­tain an ath­letic ow and have a lot more suc­cess on those half-wedges.

“Here’s a great down­swing trig­ger: Kick in your back knee.”

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